Haryana Vidhan Sabha Tuesday passed the Haryana Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2019 (HCOCA) on the last day of Monsoon Session amid concerns raised by opposition members. This was the last session of the Vidhan Sabha before state goes to polls in October this year.
The new law will empower the state government with powers to intercept wire, electronic or oral communication to control the menace of organised crime. Maharashtra and Delhi had already passed similar Bills.
Various other Bills including the one regarding Sports University of Haryana in Rai, Sonipat were also passed in the Assembly on Tuesday. Certain Bills including Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Amendment, Group D Employees (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Amendment, Haryana Municipal (Second Amendment), Punjab Electricity (Emergency Powers) Haryana Repeal, Motor Vehicles (Haryana Amendment) Bill were passed to introduce modifications in previous Bills.
“In view of the emerging situation of organised crime in the State of Haryana, it has become imperative to introduce a similar legislation in the state which ensures effective legal action against the gangsters, leaders and members of organised criminal gangs. Such a strong legislation will also suitably empower the police in a lawful manner to take strong and deterrent, but lawful action against the criminals. Special provisions also need to be enacted for forfeiture of the property acquired from proceeds of crimes and to create a provision for special courts and special prosecutor for handling the trials of offences under this Act,” the government said while mooting the Bill.
“There is a rising consensus among the policy makers and internal security experts that such criminal activities require stringent law for effective tackling. Special legislations have already been enacted in some states. Maharashtra had enacted Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in 1999, which was subsequently adopted by the national capital territory of Delhi also. The state of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka have also enacted their respective Acts”, the Bill reads.
However, expressing concerns over the powers to police officers for intercepting the phone calls in the proposed law, Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal said that such provisions may lead their misuse by the CID officials.
“They will start recording phone calls of people like us (MLAs) also. This is illegal. It would be attack on the privacy in personal life,” said Dalal.
However, the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said “such provisions will be only for the persons involved in organized crime” but Dalal reiterated his objections and added that “allegations can be leveled against anybody”.
The Congress MLA suggested that there should be enough provisions to avoid misuse of this aspect of the law. “If anybody is found misusing the provision of interception of the phone calls, then stern action should be taken against the persons responsible,” Dalal said.
However, Dalal also supported certain portions of the Bill. While speaking on the Bill, Dalal said, “There was requirement of such law as country -made revolvers are available in the villages without any restrictions. Gangs are involved in the smuggling of illegal liquor who are running their business with the help of officials and politicians”.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, who had moved the Bill in the Assembly, justified the provision of interception of phone calls of gangsters. “If any link is found of a person with any gang then his phone calls are bound to be recorded by the intelligence officials,” Sharma said adding that the “law has been introduced in the public interest”.